3 Everyday Ways to Help Improve Your Memory

Sharpen up with these expert tips.

Illustration two women, one having memory problems
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Ever feel like your memory isn't as sharp as it used to be? Neurologist Dr. Dean Sherzai says there are simple things you can do every day that may help to improve your memory. Here are his three favorite tips:

1. Eat Whole Grains

If you're still buying white bread, try switching to a heartier whole grain, Sherzai says.


"Food is one of the greatest tools we have for building better brain health," he says.

Diets high in whole grains have been associated with slower cognitive decline and a lower risk of dementia, he adds. You can also try adding more apples, blueberries and pumpkin seed oil to your diet for a brain boost.

2. Work Your Legs

How does exercise and leg strength affect memory? Sherzai says that while moderate aerobic exercise is important for overall health, research has suggested that weight-bearing leg exercises may help with the production of neurons that can lead to improved brain health.

Sherzai suggests using foot pedals at home on the days when you can't head out for a brisk walk.

It's also important to be aware of your sedentary behavior and how often you stay seated for long periods of time. Sherzai says that working out for 30 minutes a day is great, but if you're sitting on the couch for the next 6 hours, you won't see the benefits of the hard work you put in exercising.

3. Set an Alarm... for Bedtime

There is more than 100 years of research that shows how sleep plays an important part in memory retention.

"When we watch late night shows, or play on our phone for hours at night, we're throwing off our bodies," Sherzai says. "The best thing we can do is develop a bedtime routine for the brain."

  • Go to bed at the same time every night, even weekends.
  • Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep.
  • Set an alarm on your phone for bed time the same way you set an alarm for awake time.

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Personal photos courtesy of Dr.Oz

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Dr. Oz immediately contacted his friends and colleagues and crafted a treatment plan with two of the country's top experts in the field: Richard S. Isaacson, MD, a neurologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and the founder of the Alzheimer's Prevention Clinic, and Dr. Rudy Tanzi, a professor of neurology at Harvard and the founder of the "Alzheimer's Genome Project," who co-discovered the first Alzheimer's gene.

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